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Complete Guide to Betting on the College Football Bowl Games

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| December 17, 2021 11:35 am PDT

The 2021 college football regular season is over, which has many fans sad. However, cheer up for the holidays because the bowl games will be highly entertaining this year.

My goal here is to help you pick out some winners and weigh your options. After all, there are 44 bowl games to pick from. I will be breaking down all of the matchups involving Top 25 squads. For those good in math, that equals 16 matchups that involve a ranked squad.

Take some notes as class is in session. Consider this your official betting guide for the 2021-22 postseason.

Where to Bet on 2021 College Football Bowl Games

There are several bonuses, promos, and valued odds on all these sites. Taking advantage of these sites is vital as there will be many risk-free bets.

The holidays should be an exciting time to relax on the couch and catch some pigskin with family and friends. Here is your upcoming schedule for the 2021-22 college bowl season.

NCAAF Bowl Game Schedule for Top 25

  • No. 13 BYU vs. UAB (Independence Bowl) – December 18, 3:30 pm ET
  • No. 23 Louisiana vs. Marshall (New Orleans Bowl) – December 18, 9:15 pm ET
  • No. 24 San Diego State vs. UTSA (Frisco Bowl) – December 21, 7:30 pm ET
  • Auburn vs. No. 20 Houston (Birmingham Bowl) – December 28, Noon ET
  • UCLA vs. No. 18 NC State (Holiday Bowl) – December 28, 7 pm ET
  • No. 19 Clemson vs. Iowa State (Cheez-It Bowl) – December 29, 5:45 pm ET
  • No. 14 Oregon vs. No. 16 Oklahoma (Alamo Bowl) – December 29, 9:15 pm ET
  • No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Pitt (Peach Bowl) – December 30, 7 pm ET
  • No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 17 Wake Forest (Gator Bowl) – December 31, 11 am ET
  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati (Cotton Bowl) – December 31, 3:30 pm ET
  • No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia (Orange Bowl) – December 31, 6:30 pm ET
  • Penn State vs. No. 21 Arkansas (Outback Bowl) – January 1, Noon ET
  • No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State (Fiesta Bowl) – January 1, 1 pm ET
  • No. 15 Iowa vs. No. 22 Kentucky (Citrus Bowl) – January 1, 1 pm ET
  • No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Utah (Rose Bowl) – January 1, 4 pm ET
  • No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 7 Baylor (Sugar Bowl) – January 1, 8:45 pm ET

The following games are the 16 matchups involving teams in the Top 25 of the College Football rankings.

There are plenty of opt-outs from star players that will see their names called in the first round of the NFL Draft. There are nine matchups this postseason involving both teams that are ranked.

While wagering on these games, be sure to keep in mind that players will often decide whether to opt-out or not days before the games. Practices are a week in advance of the game, and usually, the player decides by the first practice.

There will be rare cases where injuries are monitored during pre-game. Snaps could be limited for future NFL players that have had nagging injuries. Be sure to check the top Twitter accounts for daily updates once the games are closer to kicking off.

2021 College Football Bowl Game Odds

These games are sure to change depending on your sportsbook, but a few of these games are quickly approaching. The ones closer to New Years are the showdowns that many have been waiting for all season.

Compare the odds with other sportsbooks, but I will discuss which games offer the best values throughout this article.

BYU vs. UAB

  • BYU (-6.5) -116
  • UAB (+6.5) -104
  • BYU to Win -260
  • UAB to Win +220
  • Over 55 (-110)
  • Under 55 (-110)

BYU has won three of their past four bowls and has gone 5-5 against the spread in their past 10. UAB has lost their past three bowls as an underdog with a 1-2 record against the spread.

There are dozens of games with touchdown spread or more due to mismatches on paper. Try to figure out which teams want to be there and how their seasons went. Both fit the bill, so expect a fun one in the trenches.

Louisiana vs. Marshall

  • Louisiana (-5) -110
  • Marshall (+5) -110
  • Louisiana to Win -205
  • Marshall to Win +175
  • Over 55.5 (-110)
  • Under 55.5 (-110)

The Ragin’ Cajuns finished No. 15 in the AP Poll last season, but they have a shot to finish close to that rank once again. Billy Napier and some of his staff are gone, but they still have the edge of being able to play in their home state.

Marshall should give them a game, having won seven of their past nine bowls. The Thundering Herd have lost the past two, but they have covered seven of their past 10 bowls as the underdog.

San Diego State vs. UTSA

  • San Diego State (-2.5) -108
  • UTSA (+2.5) -112
  • San Diego State to Win +115
  • UTSA to Win -135
  • Over 49 (-112)
  • Under 49 (-108)

The Aztecs and Roadrunners square off in this Group of Five matchup. Both squads have exceptional rushing attacks. The squads also are solid defensive squads that have flown under the radar this season.

UTSA is 0-2 in bowls, but they should be thrilled to be going up against a Top 25 squad. Despite a 12-1 record, they were not in the final CFP poll, and they should be foaming at the mouth against a one-dimensional team.

Houston vs. Auburn

  • Houston (+3) -110
  • Auburn (-3) -110
  • Houston to Win +128
  • Auburn to Win -148
  • Over 51 (-110)
  • Under 51 (-110)

Auburn has had coaching changes over the years, but they have performed poorly in the postseason. The Tigers have lost four of their past six, and Houston is in a similar boat.

Something has to give in this matchup but be wary of all the opt-outs for Auburn. The offense has not been the same without Bo Nix and Tanks Bigsby. Defensive standout Roger McCreary is likely to sit as well.

UCLA vs. NC State

  • UCLA (+1) -105
  • NC State (-1) -115
  • UCLA to Win -103
  • NC State to Win -117
  • Over 60 (-110)
  • Under 60 (-110)

Both teams have had their fair share of ups and downs in the postseason. The Bruins have not won nine-plus games since 2014, and they are hopeful of Chip Kelly giving the program their first 11-win season in the immediate future.

NC State has not had a 10-win season since 2002 since Philip Rivers was the signal-caller. The Wolfpack knocked off the Fighting Irish in the Gator Bowl, and they will need to limit a potent rushing attack in this one.

Clemson vs. Iowa State

  • Clemson (+1.5) -105
  • Iowa State (-1.5) -115
  • Iowa State to Win -125
  • Clemson to Win +105
  • Over 45.5 (-110)
  • Under 45.5 (-110)

Dabo Swinney has gone 10-7 at Clemson in bowls. He is 7-3 against the spread in the past ten. The Tigers have failed to cover the number in the past two. A win would put Clemson in their 12th straight season with ten or more victories.

Matt Campbell and the Cyclones have been competitive in three of their past four bowls.

On an interesting side note, Iowa State will be in their fifth straight bowl for the first time in program history. All five bowls have had a spread under a touchdown, one way or another.

Oregon vs. Oklahoma

  • Oregon (-4.5) -105
  • Oklahoma (+4.5) -115
  • Oregon to Win +175
  • Oklahoma to Win -205
  • Over 61 (-110)
  • Under 61 (-110)

The Alamo is one of the more chaotic matchups of the postseason. There are coaches, coordinators, and players missing in action for this one (more for Oregon). The Alamo Bowl has been a top non-NY6 bowl over the years, but this is a mystery box type of game.

Going into this one, Oklahoma had played in six straight CFP/NY6 bowls, and Oregon has played in the BCS/NY6/CFP in eight of their past 12.

Michigan State vs. Pitt

  • Michigan State (-2.5) -112
  • Pitt (+2.5) -108
  • Michigan State to Win -132
  • Pitt to Win +112
  • Over 60 (-110)
  • Under 60 (-110)

Mel Tucker is at the helm and is off to a fast start in his tenure. Many believe Kenny Pickett and Kenneth Walker will be sitting this matchup out.

This bowl had the makings of being a shootout, but there are more questions heading into this Big Ten against ACC matchup. Sparty has covered and won six of their past bowls outright.

Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

  • Wake Forest (+5) -110
  • Texas A&M (-5) -110
  • Wake Forest to Win +175
  • Texas A&M to Win -205
  • Over 57.5 (-110)
  • Under 57.5 (-110)

This bowl is a rematch from the 2017 postseason, won by Wake Forest in an upset. The Gator Bowl is lining up similarly. Jimbo Fisher will be without his starting quarterback and running back for this matchup.

Dave Clawson of Wake Forest has won four of six bowls at Wake, but they have been respectable as an underdog. The program has covered in five of their past eight bowls.

Alabama vs. Cincinnati

  • Alabama (-13) -108
  • Cincinnati (+13) -112
  • Alabama to Win -475
  • Cincinnati to Win +385
  • Over 58 (-110)
  • Under 58 (-110)

Nick Saban has won eight of his past ten bowls at Alabama but is 4-5-1 against the number. In the past 10 CFP matchups, Saban has given Alabama a 14.1 margin of victory.

Alabama has gone 8-3 in the CFP era, but there is an even better note. The average margin of victory in the national semifinals is 20.9 PPG, and only three of the 14 games have within one score.

You can view our complete betting on the College Football Playoff below.

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Michigan vs. Georgia

  • Georgia (-8.5) -110
  • Michigan (+8.5) -110
  • Georgia to Win -293
  • Michigan to Win +248
  • Over 45 (-110)
  • Under 45 (-110)

The Bulldogs are in a fifth consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl, a program record. This season will also mark the first time in program history they have finished in the AP Top 10.

Jim Harbaugh won the AP Coach of the Year due to their accomplishments. He won his first two games as an underdog at Michigan (2-11, see Ohio State and Wisconsin). Harbaugh also knocked off Iowa, giving him his first win with the Wolverines over an AP Top 15 squad in a road/neutral-site game.

If you need some betting tips for the College Football Playoff, jot down some notes.

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Arkansas vs. Penn State

  • Arkansas (+2) -115
  • Penn State (-2) -105
  • Arkansas to Win +110
  • Penn State to Win -130
  • Over 47.5 (-110)
  • Under 47.5 (-110)

Sam Pittman has Arkansas in a January bowl. Many thought they had no shot at even appearing in one. The Razorbacks are 0-4 against the Big Ten in bowl games, and the Nittany Lions are 10-8 against the SEC.

The top wideouts may both be missing this one, with Treylon Burks already confirming he will not be suiting up for the Outback Bowl.

Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State

  • Notre Dame (-2) -117
  • Oklahoma State (+2) -103
  • Notre Dame to Win -125
  • Oklahoma State to Win +105
  • Over 45.5 (-110)
  • Under 45.5 (-110)

Mike Gundy has covered four of the past five bowl games as an underdog, winning three of them outright. Everybody will be pounding the Irish due to the recent hiring of Marcus Freeman, who has a bright future ahead of him.

However, the Irish have had their struggles for decades in January bowls. Against AP Top 10 squads, Notre Dame has lost nine straight bowls.

One would have to go back to the 1994 Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M. The Golden Domers are 0-7 in BCS/NY6 bowls with a 23-point margin of defeat in those games.

Kentucky vs. Iowa

  • Kentucky (3) -105
  • Iowa (+3) -115
  • Kentucky to Win -150
  • Iowa to Win +130
  • Over 55.5 (-110)
  • Under 55.5 (-110)

The coaching battle should be a great one between Kirk Ferentz and Mark Stoops. Kentucky is currently 2-2 against the Big Ten in bowls. Iowa has gone 5-5 against the SEC.

Defensive will rule the day in this one, with the Hawkeyes rankings in the 100s for Total Offense, Scoring, Passing Offense, and Rushing Offense. Iowa has won three straight bowls and will be looking for a fourth (that would set a program record).

Ohio State vs. Utah

  • Ohio State (-6) -110
  • Utah (+6) -110
  • Ohio State to Win -245
  • Utah to Win +205
  • Over 65 (-112)
  • Under 65 (-108)

The first-ever Rose Bowl for Utah in a season that had more adversity than some programs face in a lifetime makes for an epic New Year’s Day present. The Buckeyes were hopeful of returning to the national title, but this is a solid consolation prize.

Pay close attention to which wideouts suit up for the Scarlet and Gray. If two of their big three wideouts play, they should be fine.

The Buckeyes are an iffy 6-4 straight up and 4-6 against the spread in their past ten bowls as the favorite. The Utes have gone 5-1 straight up and against the spread in their past six bowls (as the underdog).

Baylor vs. Ole Miss

  • Baylor (-1) -105
  • Ole Miss (+1) -115
  • Baylor to Win -115
  • Ole Miss to Win -105
  • Over 55 (-110)
  • Under 55 (-110)

Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss offense will be quite the matchup against a stellar Baylor defense under Dave Aranda. The battle of coaches is my top one to watch for the entire postseason. Baylor is 4-5 against the SEC in the bowl, and Ole Miss has gone 7-1 against the Big 12.

Something has to give, but the tempo and time of possession will determine the outcome. Will the Rebels get plenty of offensive snaps, or will Baylor shrink the game?

If the signal-caller takes care of the ball, Ole Miss should have an advantage.

The Bears’ defense will make them uncomfortable, and the line of scrimmage will determine the outcome.

Best Bets for Bowl Season

Oklahoma State +2-103
Ohio State -6-110
Ole Miss +1-110

I am looking at a pair of dogs for best bets this postseason. Fading of the public is a solid option during the holidays. There are plenty of favorites in the early going. Looking at the Top 25 matchup, the Fiesta Bowl is the perfect matchup.

The Cowboys are exceptional at getting after the passer, and they could make Notre Dame one-dimensional. Ultimately, Spencer Sanders will need to take care of the ball and extend plays with his feet.

Many are making a huge deal over the Marcus Freeman signing. That is worth mentioning. However, it shouldn’t automatically have you back the Irish.

They have had nightmare performances over the past few decades. January bowls against Top 10 teams has been their weakness. I expect a thrilling matchup, but the Cowboys defense will come up clutch down the stretch.

Ohio State had an ugly loss against the spread loss to Washington a few yrs ago. However, the Buckeyes should be too explosive for the Utes. We will see a defense for Ohio State that should play inspired football.

Ole Miss over Baylor is a game where the point spread could change before kickoff. An elite offense against a stellar defense will be a fun matchup, but Matt Corral has been a star this season. Look for him to end his career in Oxford on a high note as a future first-round draft pick.

Betting on the 2021 College Football Bowl Games

This was your guide to betting on the college football bowls games. There are several games prior to Christmas, but the Top 25 matchups are days prior to New Year’s Day.

If you are unsure where to place a wager, check out our site on the top college football betting sites.

Enjoy your holidays and all the games and be sure to keep following all the big updates before the games begin.

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